On Monday, Alabama took its first concrete steps toward becoming and airplane manufacturing center.
In a ceremony attended by the state officials and executives from European aircraft giant Airbus, the company broke ground on its new $600 million production plant in Mobile. Airbus, a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), hopes to start assembling A320 planes at the facility in two years, the Associated Press notes.
Safran Engineering Services, a major Airbus partner, has also opened new offices in Alabama.
For Airbus, the new plant adds to its production facilities in Europe and Asia, making the company a global manufacturer. It also marks Airbus’ first facility on the home territory of its worldwide aircraft rival Boeing (NYSE:BA).
Company officials said they expected that the presence of U.S.-based manufacturing would help them sell more planes to U.S. airlines.
Airbus announced its decision to build the Mobile facility last year. The plant is expected to employ up to 1,000 workers when it is finished.
Shares of Boeing rose slightly in pre-market trading on Tuesday.